If you’re looking to spend some time in the Sunshine State, look to Ocala, about 40 miles south of Gainesville, in central Florida. With human settlements reaching back as far as 6,500 BCE, the area around Ocala has been teeming with human life for thousands of years. Nowadays, the region thrives on the revenue it gains from equestrian sports and is called a “Horse Capital of the World”, something only five cities in the whole world are able to claim. This makes Ocala the perfect destination if you want to learn more about horses or maybe even try your hand at riding one.
After you book an RV in Marion County, you may decide to park it for a while and explore the city by public transportation. Luckily enough, the county is covered by the Ocala SunTran bus system. With six routes spread throughout the county, you’ll easily be able to get where you need to go without breaking a sweat.
If horses aren’t really your thing, don’t worry, there’s still plenty to see and do in and around Ocala when you rent an RV. The semi-tropical state of Florida is rich with natural wonders and filled with potential adventures just waiting for you.
The Great Outdoors
You don’t have to travel far from Ocala to get to fully enjoy the natural wonders of Florida. In fact, just 10 minutes northeast of downtown is Silver Springs State Park. Don’t let the size of this park fool you. One of Florida’s oldest attractions, Silver Springs State Park features kayak, canoe, and paddleboard rentals, glass-bottom boat tours, and a wide variety of native plant and animal wildlife. You can even park your Ocala RV rental by owner here and stay a night or two and fully experience the beauty of the Silver Springs.
If you’re looking to explore some forests, Florida has that for you, too. About an hour east of town is the Ocala National Forest, near Orlando. This sand pine scrub forest is not only the largest of its kind, it is also the southernmost forest in the United States. Here, you can go hiking on the many trails for a day hike or a backpacking expedition, you can snorkel or boat, and you can even go ATVing. Regardless of what you’re looking to do while visiting the park, you’re sure to enjoy the grandeur of the forest as you meander your way through the massive landscape.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Florida without a visit to the coastline, so pack up the Ocala rental RV and make a day of it. Due to human development, a lot of the natural coastline is no longer natural. Fortunately, the St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve, near Crystal River on the Gulf side of Florida, roughly an hour west of Ocala, is preserved. Here, you can rent kayaks or canoes and guide yourself through the marshlands or hit one of the coastal trails and get some calming views of where the marshes meet the gulf. Thanks to the several onshore streams that release water right at the preserve, the waters are fairly clear and will enable you to see some of the aquatic life below.
Once you’ve finally finished driving the Ocala travel trailer rental all over central Florida, you’re going to want to find somewhere to call home for the next few days.
If you enjoyed Silver Springs State Park, you can reserve a campsite and enjoy the park for another day. You’ll have access to a pool, WiFi, laundry facilities, restrooms and showers, full power hookups, and live entertainment on several nights. Not only that, but you’ll be able to walk to the park and go on as many glass-bottom boat rides as you want.
Just east of Ocala, on the edge of the Ocala National Forest, is the Wilderness RV Resort at Silver Springs. Here, you can remove yourself from city life a little and enjoy guest activities such as bingo nights, a fitness center, laundry facilities, and a fishing pond plus electrical hookups. You can even treat yourself at the onsite, local candy shop Sweet Jane’s.
Explore the City
After you’ve soaked up as much Florida sun as you can handle, you can park your RV rental in Ocala and hit the streets of the town and learn more about this wonderful little piece of the world.
If you need a break from the sun, head into the Appleton Museum of Art. Here, you can enjoy the permanent exhibits that showcase art from all around the world or indulge in the temporary exhibits, which often focus on local artists. If you’re feeling particularly creative or daring, you can sign up for one of their classes and learn about a particular process or even make something yourself.
If you want to learn even more about the area, take some time to explore the Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology. Here, you can learn about the native tribes that once called this region home or learn about the European settlers who came to the area. You can even attend lectures as researchers talk about their discoveries and what they mean for the region.
When in Ocala, be sure to treat yourself to some locally caught seafood, or maybe even some alligator, if you’re a bit daring. Or if you want something totally crazy to add to your itinerary, Disney World is only about an hour away.